This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee had Secretary of Defense Austin, and General Mark Milley, among others, in the hot seats to talk about the disaster that was the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. The most popular clip from this hearing consists of Senator Tom Cotton asking General Milley why he has yet to resign.
However, the more potentially dramatic moment(s) came from Senator Thom Tillis.
Tillis told Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and US Central Command leader Gen. Kenneth McKenzie that while “some American citizens” and Afghan allies had managed to get out of the Taliban-controlled country, we have a much longer list of people that we were not successful with getting out.
“Between SIV [Special Immigration Visa] holders and family members, my office alone has over 900 people still on a list of people who are still in Afghanistan,” Tillis added, “and we communicate with these people through WhatsApp. We were trying to shepherd them to [Hamid Karzai International Airport], then back and forth and ultimately operations were shut down and they were stranded and left behind.”
“We were working with a Marine who was trying to get an interpreter out, had been maintaining contact for years,” the senator recalled. “We had all the authenticating documentation. We weren’t successful in that case. That Marine committed suicide about three weeks ago, retired Marine. So this is having real-life consequences, not only in Afghanistan but here in the United States.”
Austin expressed his condolences for the loss of this Marine, but the reality is that when the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, we left entirely too many good people behind, and they are suffering because of it.
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